Kippo, a Dating App For Gamers, Enters the Metaverse

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

Kippo, a Dating App For Gamers, Enters the Metaverse
Image courtesy of Kippo

Gamers’ favorite dating app is taking romance into the metaverse.

Los Angeles-based Kippo has unveiled an update to its app, called Kippo 2.0, that allows users to create avatars and make connections through an in-app virtual world.

“Our vision always was to create a very immersive experience,” Kippo co-founder and CEO David Park told dot.LA. “Dating should be fun, meeting people should be fun, and all of that is bundled into what Kippo 2.0 is going to be.”

Gaming is still core to Kippo’s mission. The company says that 93% of its users played games together before meeting in person. Most users would exchange gamer tags before exchanging phone numbers. But with the 2.0 update, users are incentivized to stay in the app and communicate through the new game-like interface.

Park said that Kippo is focused on monetizing the app’s cosmetic features, such as clothing and accessories that users can buy to style their avatars. “We think about all the experiences that humans have in the physical world and [how we can] bring them onto a digital platform,” he said.

The refreshed app will feature Kippo Arcade, a virtual world that allows users’ avatars to participate in shared experiences, like go-kart racing and soccer games. Park noted that Kippo doesn’t need to only function as a tool for romance; it can also help users meet new friends.

“Bars don't call themselves ‘dating bars’ and parties don't call themselves ‘dating parties,’” he said. “As soon as you create a dating party or a dating event, it loses all of its cool factor right away and it feels like there's this agenda.”

Kippo also stands out for its cost—or lack thereof. While other dating apps have plenty of features, many of them require payment to access. (Bumble, for instance, makes users pay in order to extend the 24-hour window in which they can match.) Park said his app “offer[s] more for free than any other dating app, and our goal long-term is to make more and more features free.”

“Imagine if Facebook had a paywall, or Instagram had a paywall, or TikTok had a paywall,” he continued. “It's just not the same.”

To date, Kippo has raised $4.5 million in funding from investors including Jason Calacanis of Launch, according to the company.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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Behind Her Empire: AAVRANI Co-Founder Rooshy Roy On Redefining Success and Embracing Identity

Yasmin Nouri

Yasmin is the host of the "Behind Her Empire" podcast, focused on highlighting self-made women leaders and entrepreneurs and how they tackle their career, money, family and life.

Each episode covers their unique hero's journey and what it really takes to build an empire with key lessons learned along the way. The goal of the series is to empower you to see what's possible & inspire you to create financial freedom in your own life.

AAVRANI Co-Founder Rooshy Roy
Photo courtesy of AAVRANI

Growing up in the suburbs of Detroit, Rooshy Roy said, as the only Indian girl in school, she spent a lot of time feeling like an outsider and like she wasn’t meeting others’ expectations of “how an Indian girl should behave.”

Flash forward 20 years, and the differences Roy was once ashamed of are now the inspiration for her skincare company.

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